Posted by: frburke23 | August 20, 2014

Thought for Wednesday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 20:1-16

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a landowner
who went out at dawn to hire laborers for his vineyard.
After agreeing with them for the usual daily wage,
he sent them into his vineyard.
Going out about nine o’clock,
he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
and he said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard,
and I will give you what is just.’
So they went off.
And he went out again around noon,
and around three o’clock, and did likewise.
Going out about five o’clock,
he found others standing around, and said to them,
‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
They answered, ‘Because no one has hired us.’
He said to them, ‘You too go into my vineyard.’
When it was evening the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman,
‘Summon the laborers and give them their pay,
beginning with the last and ending with the first.’
When those who had started about five o’clock came,
each received the usual daily wage.
So when the first came, they thought that they would receive more,
but each of them also got the usual wage.
And on receiving it they grumbled against the landowner, saying,
‘These last ones worked only one hour,
and you have made them equal to us,
who bore the day’s burden and the heat.’
He said to one of them in reply,
‘My friend, I am not cheating you.
Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go.
What if I wish to give this last one the same as you?
Or am I not free to do as I wish with my own money?
Are you envious because I am generous?’
Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

===========================================

Jesus came to turn everything upside down.  This story has many wonderful points to it:

  • The landowner, which of course is God, seeks to employ people who are idle. In other words, the Lord seeks us in love.  He wants salvation for us.  He wants us to be active on this journey, not sitting by idly.  Sometimes we go through life busy about things that don’t really matter, but we are idle with our spiritual lives.  The Lord invites us to consider “working” for Him and the Kingdom.  He pursues us, but also gives us the freedom to say “yes” or “no”.
  • Some people have never been invited to consider Jesus Christ, as we hear in this Gospel passage when they were asked why they were idle, “Because no one has hired us.” Many people have not truly heard the Good News of Jesus Christ because there are not enough laborers in the vineyard.  Many are called; few respond.  Pope Francis says that we are all called to do our part in evangelizing the world.  None of us can sit idly and say that this is the work for someone else.
  • God is generous with His grace. The landowner generously gave everyone the full day’s wage, which represents eternal life.  It didn’t matter if they were working all day long or if they only worked one hour.  The point is God wants all of us to enjoy heaven.  Some of us respond with a “yes” our whole lives.  Some don’t respond until much later in life.  But to God it is never too late.
  • God wants to dispel our jealousy. Look how the ones who worked all day were offended that the landowner gave the late arrivals the same pay.  It is not fair!  Yet, God’s ways are so far beyond our ways.  And when it comes to heaven, we are all offered the same – eternal life.  It should not matter to us when others accept God’s offer – early or late – because when we are with God we are COMPLETELY FULFILLED.  And we want others to experience the same.
  • And once again, Jesus reiterates that “the first will be last and the last will be first”. This should make us think how we compare ourselves with others.  Am I better than someone else?  Do I deserve more than my neighbor because of my education or status?  According to God, we are all His sons and daughters and He wants to lavish His love upon us all.

Am I working in the vineyard?

If not, what am I waiting for?

If so, do I compare myself with others or do I focus on the goal of heaven?

Do I see myself as superior to others?

Or do I put others and their needs before my own?

Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me the way you do.  Help me to respond to your invitation with a resounding “YES”!  Help me to focus my life on you and not be distracted by all of the things that this world offers.  I desire eternal life with you and all that you offer me.  I want everyone around to experience heaven as well.  Help me to work faithfully and tirelessly for you, Lord.

Have a blessed day!

Fr. Burke

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Here is the Spanish translation:

MATEO 20:1-16

Jesús dijo a sus discípulos esta parábola: 
“El Reino de los cielos es semejante a un propietario 
que salió de madrugada a contratar obreros para su viña. 
Después de acordar con ellos de pagarles un denario, 
los envió a su viña. 
Salió otra vez  cerca de las nueve, 
vio a otros que estaban de ociosos en la plaza, 
y él les dijo, “ustedes también vayan a mi viña, 
y yo les daré lo que sea justo”. 
Así que se fueron. 
Y salió de nuevo alrededor del mediodía, 
y cerca de las tres, e hizo lo mismo. 
Salió otra vez cerca de las cinco, 
él encontró a otros parados, y les dijo, 
‘¿Por qué están aquí de ociosos parados todo el día? “
Ellos respondieron, ‘Porque nadie nos ha contratado.”
Él les dijo, “ustedes también vayan a mi viña. 
Cuando llegó la noche, el dueño de la viña dijo a su capataz, 
“Convoca a los obreros y dales su paga, 
empezando con los últimos y terminando con los primeros.”
Cuando vinieron los que habían comenzado alrededor de las cinco, 
cada uno recibió un denario. 
Así que cuando llegaron los primeros, pensaban que recibirían más, 
pero cada uno de ellos también recibió un denario. 
Y al recibirlo, murmuraban contra el propietario, diciendo, 
“Estos últimos trabajaron solo una hora, 
y los has hecho iguales a nosotros, 
que llevamos el peso del día y el calor”. 
Él le respondió a uno de ellos, 
‘Mi amigo, yo no te estoy engañando. 
¿Acaso no acordaste conmigo que te pagaría un denario? 
Toma lo que es tuyo y vete. 
¿Qué si quiero darle a este último lo mismo que a ti? 
O ¿No estoy libre de hacer lo que quiero con mi propio dinero? 
¿Te da envidia porque soy generoso? ‘
Así, los últimos serán los primeros, y los primeros serán los últimos “.

________________________________________________________________

Jesús vino a poner todo al revés. Esta historia tiene muchos  puntos  maravillosos:

El propietario, que por supuesto es Dios, busca emplear a personas que están de ociosos. En otras palabras, el Señor nos busca en el amor. Él quiere la salvación para nosotros. Él quiere que estemos activos en este viaje, no sentados con los brazos cruzados. A veces vamos por la vidaocupados en cosas que realmente no tienen importancia, pero estamos inactivos con nuestra vida espiritual. El Señor nos invita a considerar “trabajar” para El y el Reino. Él nos persigue, pero también nos da la libertad de decir “sí” o “no”.

Algunas personas nunca han sido invitadas a considerar a Jesucristo, como escuchamos en este pasaje del Evangelio cuando se les preguntó por qué estaban de ociosos, “Porque nadie nos ha contratado.” Muchas personas realmente no han escuchado la Buena Nueva de Jesucristo porqueno hay suficientes trabajadores en la viña. Muchos son los llamados; pocos responden. El Papa Francisco dice que todos estamos llamados a hacer nuestra parte en evangelizar el mundo. Ninguno de nosotros puede quedarse de brazos cruzados y decir que este es el trabajo de alguien más.

Dios es generoso con Su gracia. El propietario generosamente dio a todos el salario del día completo, que representa la vida eterna. No importaba si estaban trabajando todo el día, o si sólo trabajaron una hora. El punto es que Dios quiere que todos nosotros disfrutemos del cielo.  Algunos de nosotros respondemos con un “sí” toda nuestra vida. Algunos no responden hasta mucho más tarde en la vida. Pero para Dios nunca es demasiado tarde.

Dios quiere disipar nuestros celos. Mira cómo  los que trabajaron  todo el día se ofendieron  que el propietario le dio a los que llegaron tarde el mismo salario. ¡No es justo! Sin embargo, las formas de Dios son mucho más allá de nuestras formas. Y cuando se trata del cielo, a todos se nos ofrece lo  mismo – la vida eterna. No debe importarnos cuando otros aceptan la oferta de Dios – tarde o temprano – porque cuando estamos con Dios estamos COMPLETAMENTE REALIZADOS. Y queremos que los demás experimenten lo mismo.

Y una vez más, Jesús reitera que “los primeros serán los últimos y los últimos serán los primeros”. Esto debería hacernos pensar cómo nos comparamos con los demás. ¿Soy mejor que otro? ¿Merezco más que mi prójimo debido a mi educación o estatus? Según Dios, todos somos Sus hijos e hijas y quiere prodigar Su amor sobre todos nosotros.

¿Estoy trabajando en la viña
Si no, ¿qué estoy esperando? 
Si es así, ¿me comparo con los demás o me concentro en el objetivo del cielo? 
¿Me veo a mí mismo superior a los demás? 
¿O pongo a los demás y sus necesidades antes que las mías?

Señor Jesús, gracias por amarme como lo haces. ¡Ayúdame a responder a tu invitación con un rotundo “SÍ”! Ayúdame a centrar mi vida en ti y noser distraído con todas las cosas que este mundo ofrece. Yo deseo la vida eterna contigo y todo lo que me ofreces. Quiero que todos en torno experimenten el cielo también. Ayúdame a trabajar fielmente e incansablemente para ti, Señor.

¡Tengan un día bendecido!

Fr. Burke

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Posted by: frburke23 | August 19, 2014

Thought for Tuesday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 19:23-30

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
“Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,

“For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter said to him in reply,
“We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
________________________________________________________
Yesterday, we heard how Jesus told the rich young man to “sell everything you have, give it to the poor, and follow me,” in order to be perfect.  We continue on this theme of riches in today’s Gospel.  With the example of the camel passing through the eye of a needle, Jesus almost closes the doors of heaven to the rich.  Realizing this, the disciples ask, “Then who can be saved?”  They were getting nervous.

Jesus has nothing against rich people.  He is warning us against the dangers of worldly attachments.  Jesus calms their fears of losing heaven by saying, “for men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”  This gives me great hope.  We often spend our whole lives trying to prove ourselves, garnering accolades, prizes and material things, adding to our resumes; yet, we realize that by gathering all of these things, we still are fundamentally empty if we haven’t put Christ at the center of all of it.

Peter, the spokesman for the apostles, then pipes up and basically says, “Lord, we’ve given up everything.  So what’s in it for us?”  You can hear the selfishness in his question.  But Peter is so human.  We can all relate so well to Peter.  Even though we are trying to follow Christ, rid ourselves of worldly attachments, we still want to know, “What is in it for me?”

Jesus tells him not to worry.  If you have given up house, family or other things for the sake of the Kingdom, you will be rewarded one hundred times and gain eternal life.  This is the Good News!

Reading this Gospel, I could not help but think of some of our seminarians from Poland, Kenya and Mexico.  They literally have given up home, country, language, family, everything…and come to this country to serve God as a priest.  Even though they can probably help their families by serving as a priest here, they have given up so much.  But we don’t have to leave our country to sacrifice for God.

This inspires me and makes me ask the question, “What have I given up for Jesus?”  I am near my family.  I am not starving.  I have a roof over my head.  I have sacrificed having a wife and children of my own.  But I Lord has blessed more than I can possibly imagine.  I feel as though my spiritual family is huge.  I have met so many incredible people by being in ministry.  They have blessed my life tremendously.  What little I have offered to God to follow Him, He has returned to me more than 100 times.  The more I offer back to Him, the more He gives me to give away again.  And the peace and joy I have received is beyond my wildest imagination.  I realize that I cannot outdo God in generosity.

May we all meditate on these words of Jesus.  What is the Lord asking me to sacrifice or give up or offer back to Him so that my worship may be pure?  If I’m not asked to leave my home or country or family, am I being called to give up some worldly comforts?  I guarantee you “what you give is what you receive” and then some… 100 times more

Finally, Jesus says, “the first will be last and the last will be first.”  Sometimes we feel superior on this earth if we have more power, prestige, titles, fame and money.  Jesus measures success by humility, service, love and mercy.  If you had a report card on these qualities, what grades would you receive?

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Here is the Spanish translation:

Mateo 19:23-30

Jesús dijo a sus discípulos:
“En verdad, les digo, será difícil para que un rico
entre en el Reino de los cielos.
Otra vez les digo,
es más fácil para un camello pasar por el ojo de una aguja
que un rico entre en el Reino de Dios.”
Cuando los discípulos oyeron esto, se asombraron grandemente, y dijeron:
“¿Y quién podrá ser salvo?”
Jesús los miró y dijo,

“Para los hombres esto es imposible;
pero para Dios todo es posible”.
Entonces Pedro le dijo en respuesta,
“Nosotros lo hemos dejado todo y te hemos seguido.
¿Qué va a haber para nosotros? “
Jesús les dijo, “En verdad les digo que
ustedes que me han seguido, en la nueva era,
cuando el Hijo del Hombre se siente su trono de gloria,
ustedes se sentarán en doce tronos,
para juzgar a las doce tribus de Israel.
Y cualquiera que haya dejado casas, o hermanos, o hermanas,
o padre, o madre, o hijos o tierras
por causa de mi nombre, recibirá cien veces más,
y heredará la vida eterna.
Pero muchos de los primeros serán los últimos, y los últimos serán los primeros”.

__________________________________________________________

Ayer, escuchamos cómo Jesús le dijo al joven rico “vende todo lo que tienes, dáselo a los pobres y sígueme”, con el fin de ser perfecto.  Continuamos en este tema de la riqueza en el Evangelio de hoy. Con el ejemplo del camello que pasa por el ojo de una aguja, Jesús casi cierra las puertas del cielo a los ricos. Al darse cuenta de esto, los discípulos preguntan, “Entonces, ¿quién podrá salvarse?” Ellos Estaban poniéndose nerviosos.

Jesús no tiene nada en contra de los ricos. Él nos está advirtiendo contra los peligros de los apegos mundanos. Jesús calma sus temores de perder el cielo diciendo, “para los hombres esto es imposible, pero para Dios todo es posible.” Esto me da una gran esperanza. A menudo nos pasamos la vida entera tratando de demostrarnos a nosotros mismos, cosechando elogios, premios y cosas materiales, añadiendo a nuestro resumen; sin embargo, nos damos cuenta que al reunir todas estas cosas, todavía estamos fundamentalmente vacíos si no hemos puesto a Cristo en el centro de todo.

Pedro, el portavoz de los apóstoles, luego dice básicamente, “Señor, hemos dado todo. Entonces, ¿qué hay para nosotros?” Puedes escuchar el egoísmo en su pregunta. Pero Pedro es tan humano. Todos nos podemos relacionar muy bien con Pedro. A pesar de que estamos tratando de seguir a Cristo, liberarnos de los apegos mundanos, todavía queremos saber, “¿Qué hay para mí?”

Jesús le dice que no se preocupe. Si has dejado casa, familia u otras cosas por el bien del Reino, serás recompensado cien veces y ganaras la vida eterna. ¡Esta es la Buena Nueva!

Leyendo este Evangelio, no podía dejar de pensar en algunos de nuestros seminaristas de Polonia, Kenia y México. Ellos literalmente han dejado el hogar, país, idioma, familia, todo… Y viniendo a este país para servir a Dios como sacerdote. A pesar de que ellos probablemente pueden ayudar a sus familias al servir como sacerdote aquí, han renunciado a tanto. Pero nosotros no tenemos que salir de nuestro país para sacrificarnos por Dios.

Esto me inspira y me hace hacer la pregunta, “¿A que he renunciado por Jesús?” Yo estoy cerca de mi familia. No me estoy muriendo de hambre. Tengo un techo sobre mi cabeza. He sacrificado tener una esposa y mis propios hijos. Pero el Señor ha bendecido más de lo que puedo imaginar. Siento como si mi familia espiritual es enorme. He conocido a mucha gente increíble por estar en el ministerio. Ellos han bendecido mi vida tremendamente. Lo poco que he ofrecido a Dios para seguirlo, Él me ha devuelto más de 100 veces. Cuanto más le ofrezco de nuevo a Él, cuanto más El me da para dar de nuevo. Y la paz y alegría que he recibido es más allá de mi imaginación más salvaje. Me doy cuenta de que no puedo superar a Dios en generosidad.

Que todos podamos meditar en estas palabras de Jesús.
¿Qué es lo que el Señor me pide que sacrifique o renuncie u ofrezca de nuevo a Él para que mi adoración sea pura?
Si no se me pide que deje mi casa o país o familia, ¿estoy siendo llamado a renunciar a algunas comodidades mundanas?
Yo te garantizo que “lo que das es lo que recibes” y luego algunos… ¡100 veces más!

Por último, Jesús dice, “los primeros serán los últimos y los últimos serán los primeros.” A veces nos sentimos superiores en esta tierra si tenemos más poder, prestigio, títulos, fama y dinero. Jesús mide el éxito por la humildad, servicio, amor y misericordia. Si tuvieras una boleta de calificaciones sobre estas cualidades, ¿qué grados recibirás?

¡Tengan un día bendecido

Padre Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Posted by: frburke23 | August 18, 2014

Thought for Monday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 19:16-22

A young man approached Jesus and said,
“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”
He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good?
There is only One who is good.
If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He asked him, “Which ones?”
And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
honor your father and your mother;
and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
The young man said to him,
“All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go,
sell what you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad,
for he had many possessions.
_______________________________________________________

The rich young man came to Jesus with the good intention of wanting to follow Jesus and live eternally in heaven.  I think deep down we all have this same good intention.  The young man asked Jesus what he needed to do to get to heaven, but he was not ready for the answer.  Jesus begins by telling him that he needs to follow the commandments, which are all about loving God and loving neighbor.

The rich young man was excited because he was already keeping the commandments.  But he sensed that there was still something more.  Something in his heart made him ask the question, “What do I still lack?”  We all have had that experience that tells us that there is something more to life than what we are experiencing.  We usually know when we are holding something back from the Lord, especially if our consciences are well-formed.

Jesus responds to him by saying, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.”

Do I wish to be perfect?  We all know that perfection is impossible on this side of heaven, yet we are all called to be saints.  Our goal is union with God, who is PERFECTION itself.  If we want to unite ourselves with God, we are called to rid ourselves of all the things that keep us from loving God totally. 

I don’t think that Jesus is necessarily calling us all to sell everything we have and give it to the poor, but I do think that He is calling us to take inventory of what keeps us from loving God with our whole heart, mind and soul.  This could be material things…  This could be a job…  This could be a disordered relationship…  This could be pride…

I remember when I came back from my Bolivian mission trip in 2005.  I realized that I had a lot of “stuff” that was unnecessary.  I literally went through my closet and storage and gave away many things.  That was very freeing for me.

Other times I realize that I am focusing too much on my friends and not on my relationship with God.  Friends are wonderful, but no one should come before our relationship with God.

What is keeping me from loving God with my whole being?  When we figure this out, go and sell it, get rid of it, or put it in the right order of priority, and follow Jesus completely…  This is how to reach perfection in the eyes of God – giving Him our everything.  Surrender everything to Jesus – your will, your desires, your very life.  And when we do that, we will not go away sad.  We actually find out life when we give it away.  We will rejoice with Him in this life and in the life to come.

Have a great day

Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

 

 

Posted by: frburke23 | August 15, 2014

Thought for Saturday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time


MatThew 19:13-15

Children were brought to Jesus
that he might lay his hands on them and pray.
The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said,
“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them;
for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
After he placed his hands on them, he went away.

======================================

This is a very simple Gospel passage that we have today, but it reminds us of our priorities.  As I was praying with this, I was imagining how busy Jesus was.  Everyone wanted a piece of Him.  They wanted to hear his preaching, receive His blessing and be healed by His hands.  It must have been chaotic.  And the disciples, with good intention, were trying to protect His time.  So they tried to keep the children from Jesus, possibly thinking that He had more important things to do.

And yet, Jesus teaches them that no one is more important than the person right in front of Him, especially the children.  Several times Jesus told them that they must become like little children to enter the Kingdom.  We are to follow their innocence, purity, wonder, faithfulness and joy.

How busy are you?

Do you take time to focus on the people in your life, especially the children?

Or do you get so focused on the task at hand and miss the wonderful relationships God has placed in your path?

Take time today to smell the flowers, bless the children and enjoy this wonderful life.

God bless,

Fr. Burke 

Here is the Spanish translation:

MATEO 19:13-15

Niños fueron traídos a Jesús 
para que pusiera sus manos sobre ellos y orara. 
Los discípulos los reprendieron, pero Jesús dijo: 
“Dejen que los niños vengan a mí, y no se lo impidan; 
porque el Reino de los cielos es de quienes son como ellos”. 
Después de que él puso sus manos sobre ellos, se fue.

_______________________________________________________________

Este es un pasaje muy simple del Evangelio que tenemos hoy día, pero nos recuerda de nuestras prioridades. Mientras oraba con esto, me estaba imaginando lo ocupado que estaba Jesús. Todos querían un pedazo de él. Querían escuchar Su predicación, recibir Su bendición y ser sanados por Sus manos. Debió haber sido caótico. Y los discípulos, con buena intención, estaban tratando de proteger Su tiempo. Así que trataron de mantener a los niños de Jesús, posiblemente pensando que Él tenía cosas más importantes que hacer.

Y sin embargo, Jesús les enseña que nadie es más importante que la persona justo en frente de Él, especialmente los niños. Varias veces Jesús les dijo que debían ser como niños pequeños para entrar en el Reino. Debemos seguir su inocencia, pureza, maravilla, fidelidad y alegría.

¿Qué tan ocupado estas
¿Tomas tiempo para enfocarte en las personas que están en tu vida, especialmente los niños? 
¿O te enfocas tanto en la tarea a mano y te pierdes las relaciones maravillosas que Dios ha puesto en tu camino?

Toma tiempo hoy para oler las flores, bendecir a los niños y disfrutar de esta vida maravillosa.

Dios los bendiga,

  1. Burke
Posted by: frburke23 | August 14, 2014

Thought for August 15 – the Feast of the Assumption

Luke 1:39-56

Mary set out
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.”

Mary remained with her about three months
and then returned to her home.
____________________________________________

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption, when Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven.  Some people may say, “This is not in the Scriptures anywhere!”  But as Catholics we believe in Tradition (with a capital “T”), which means that we believe that the Holy Spirit continues to work and reveal God to us since the Bible was written.  This makes sense when you think about it.  We certainly don’t believe that the Holy Spirit stopped working back in the 4th century when the Bible was formed, do we?  Of course not!

The Catholic Church venerates the Sacred Scriptures as paramount to our faith.  The Scriptures are a revelation of God’s love for His people.  The Scriptures were assembled in their present form in the 4th century.  So we believe that the Holy Spirit continues to reveal God to us on a regular basis.  And the Church also uses it wisdom to discern through the ages other ways that the Holy Spirit has revealed God to us.  This is our Sacred Tradition.  This tradition is not just a bunch of practices that happen because “we always do it that way.”  No, we trust that the Church is inspired by the Holy Spirit and guides us to discern all forms of God’s revelation to us – predominantly in Scripture and Tradition.

Although this celebration of the Assumption of Mary has been celebrated in the Church for centuries, officially it was promulgated by Pope Pius XII in 1950, only 62 years ago. 

In the early Church, this feast of Mary being assumed into heaven was celebrated all over the Christian world.  It is not only a celebration of Mary, but of the power of Jesus Christ.  Just as we believe that Jesus ascended into heaven, we believe that Mary, the greatest disciple of Christ and the one who bore Christ in her womb, was assumed into heaven by the Father to be with her Son for all eternity.  Mary was the first tabernacle of Jesus, the one chosen by God to be the “God-bearer”.  What a special privilege Mary has been given among all people.  “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”

John Damascene, who died in 749AD, writes beautifully about this feast day.  “It was necessary that she who had preserved her virginity inviolate in childbirth should also have her body kept free from all corruption after death.  It was necessary that she who had carried the Creator as a child on her breast should dwell in the tabernacles of God.  It was necessary that the bride espoused by the Father should make her home in the bridal chambers of heaven.  It was necessary that she, who had gazed on her crucified Son and been pierced in the heart by the sword of sorrow which she had escaped in giving Him birth, should contemplate Him seated with the Father. It was necessary that the Mother of God should share the possessions of her Son, and be venerated by every creature as the Mother and handmaid of God.”  (From the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus by Pope Pius XII, 1950)

I thought this was a beautiful way to describe what we believe about Mary.  And the joy of this feast is that if we too unite ourselves with Jesus and the will of the Father, we can hope to spend eternity with Mary gazing upon her Son.  In fact, Jesus said, “Who are my mother, my brothers, my sisters?  The one who hears the word of God and acts on it – that person is my mother, my brother, my sister.”  This gives us all hope in the resurrection.  And we say in the Creed: “…we believe in the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting….”  Amen!

Am I listening to the word of God and acting upon it in my life?

Do I believe that God can do anything, including preserving Mary from sin and assuming her into heaven, body and soul?

Do I live my life with the hope of the resurrection and everlasting life?

Have a great day!
Fr. Burke

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Here is the Spanish translation:

Lucas 1:39-56

María partió  
y viajó a la región montañosa de prisa 
a un pueblo de Judá; 
y entró en casa de Zacarías 
y saludó a Isabel. 
Cuando Isabel oyó el saludo de María, 
saltó la criatura en su vientre, 
e Isabel, llena del Espíritu Santo, 
clamado en gran voz, y dijo: 
“Bendita tú entre las mujeres, 
y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre. 
¿Y de dónde me viene, 
que la madre de mi Señor venga a mí? 
Porque en el momento en que la voz de tu saludo llegó a mis oídos, 
el niño en mi seno saltó de alegría. 
Bendita tu que has creído 
que lo que se te fue anunciado de parte del Señor 
se cumpliría”.

Y María dijo:

“Proclama mi alma la grandeza del Señor; 
se alegra mi espíritu en Dios mi Salvador 
porque ha mirado la pequeñez de su sierva. 
Desde el día de hoy todas las generaciones me llamarán bienaventurada: 
el Poderoso ha hecho obras grandes por mí: 
y santo es su Nombre. 
El tiene misericordia de los que le temen 
en cada generación. 
Desplego el poder de su brazo; 
y se ha esparcido a los soberbios en su vanidad. 
Derribó a los potentados de sus tronos, 
y ha exaltado a los humildes. 
Él ha llenado a los hambrientos con cosas buenas, 
y a los ricos los despide vacíos. 
Él ha venido a la ayuda de su siervo Israel 
porque se ha acordado de su promesa de misericordia, 
la promesa que hizo a nuestros padres, 
a Abrahán y su descendencia por siempre”.

María se quedó con ella unos tres meses
y luego regresó a su casa.

____________________________________________________________

Hoy la Iglesia celebra la fiesta de la Asunción, cuando María fue elevada en cuerpo y alma al cielo. Algunas personas pueden decir, “¡Esto no está en las Escrituras en ningún lugar!” Pero como católicos creemos en la Tradición (con “T” mayúscula), lo que significa que creemos que el Espíritu Santo sigue trabajando y revelándonos a Dios desde que la Biblia fue escrita. Esto tiene sentido cuando se piensa en ello. Ciertamente no creemos que el Espíritu Santo dejó de trabajar en el 4to siglo, cuando la Biblia se formo, ¿verdad? ¡Por supuesto que no!

La Iglesia Católica venera las Sagradas Escrituras como lo más importante para nuestra fe. Las Escrituras son una revelación del amor de Dios para Su pueblo. Las Escrituras fueron ensambladas en su forma actual en el 4to siglo. Así que creemos que el Espíritu Santo continúa revelándonos a Dios regularmente. Y la Iglesia también utiliza la sabiduría para discernir a través de los siglos otras maneras en que el Espíritu Santo nos ha revelado a Dios. Esta es nuestra Sagrada Tradición. Esta tradición no es sólo un montón de prácticas que ocurren porque “siempre lo hacemos de esa manera.” No, confiamos en que la Iglesia está inspirada por el Espíritu Santo y nos guía para discernir todas las formas de la revelación de Dios a nosotros – predominantemente en la Escritura y Tradición.

 pesar de que esta celebración de la Asunción de María ha sido celebrada en la Iglesia durante siglos, oficialmente fue promulgada por el Papa Pío XII en 1950, hace sólo 62 años.

En la Iglesia primitiva, esta fiesta de María siendo elevada al cielo fue celebrada en todo el mundo Cristiano. No es sólo una celebración de María, sino del poder de Jesucristo. Así como creemos que Jesús ascendió al cielo, creemos que María, la más grande discípulo de Cristo y la que dio a luz a Cristo en su vientre, fue elevada al cielo por el Padre para estar con su Hijo por toda la eternidad. María fue el primer tabernáculo de Jesús, la elegida por Dios para ser la “portadora de Dios”. Qué privilegio tan especial se le ha dado a María entre todas las personas. Bendita tú entre las mujeres y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre.”

San Juan Damasceno, que murió en 749AD, escribe maravillosamente sobre este día de fiesta. “Era necesario que aquella que había conservado su inviolable virginidad en el parto también debería haber mantenido su cuerpo libre de toda corrupción después de la muerte. Era necesario que aquella que había llevado al Creador como un niño en su seno deba morar en los tabernáculos de Dios. Era necesario que la novia desposada por el Padre deba hacer su casa en las cámaras nupciales del cielo. Era necesario que ella, que había contemplado a su Hijo crucificado y ser atravesado en el corazón por la espada del dolor que había escapado al dar a luz a Él, deba contemplarlo a Él sentado con el Padre. Era necesario que la Madre de Dios deba compartir las posesiones de su Hijo, y ser venerada por toda criatura como la Madre y sierva de Dios”. (De la constitución apostólica Munificentissimus Deus  por el Papa Pío XII, 1950)

Pensé que esta era una hermosa forma de describir lo que creemos acerca de María. Y la alegría de esta fiesta es que si nosotros también nos unimos a Jesús y a la voluntad del Padre, podemos esperar pasar la eternidad con María contemplando a su Hijo. De hecho, Jesús dijo, “¿Quién es mi madre, mis hermanos, mis hermanas? El que escucha la palabra de Dios y actúa en ella – esa persona es mi madre, mi hermano, mi hermana.” Esto nos da a todos la esperanza en la resurrección. Y decimos en el Credo: “… creemos en la resurrección de la carne y la vida eterna….” ¡Amén!

¿Estoy escuchando la palabra de Dios y actuando sobre ella en mi vida
¿Creo que Dios puede hacer cualquier cosa, incluyendo preservando a María del pecado y elevándola al cielo en cuerpo y alma? 
¿Vivo mi vida con la esperanza de la resurrección y la vida eterna?

¡Tengan un gran día

Padre Burke

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Posted by: frburke23 | August 14, 2014

Thought for August 14 – St. Maximilian Kolbe

Matthew 18:21–19:1

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed,
and went to their master and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee
and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.

==========================================

Today the Church remembers St. Maximilian Kolbe, who died on this date in 1941 at the concentration camp in Auschwitz.  He was born in Poland and as a teenager joined the Franciscans.  He was ordained at the age of 24 and became a missionary priest in Japan.  His whole focus in life was the salvation of souls.  When World War II broke out he returned home to Poland and was arrested and sent to Auschwitz.

While at Auschwitz he shared his faith openly with the other prisoners.  Then on August 14th the soldiers came and announced the name of one of his fellow prisoners.  They knew that this meant death for the person who was called.  Fr. Kolbe volunteered to take the place of the man in the gas chamber because the man had a young wife and children at home.

Kolbe followed the example of his savior Jesus Christ, giving His very blood to save others.  Fr. Kolbe’s selfless example makes me think…if I were in his situation, could I do the same?  Am I willing to love selflessly by giving up my life for others?

Jesus said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for a friend.”  (John 15:13)   Kolbe considered all to be his friends because of His great love for God.

May we take time today to reflect on this beautiful example of love.  Do I love in this way?  Is it possible for me to love in such a powerful way?

Have a wonderful day!  St. Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us.
Fr. Burke

Posted by: frburke23 | August 12, 2014

Thought for Wednesday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 18:15-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
so that every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church.
If he refuses to listen even to the Church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
Amen, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.”

__________________________________________________

This is such practical advice from Jesus today.  When someone sins against us, Jesus recommends that we go directly to that person.  How often do we go to others and complain or we spread gossip or rumors?  Or we hurt that person’s reputation publicly?

If he listens to you that is great!  However, if he doesn’t listen to you, bring one or two witnesses along with you to speak to the person.  It is always good to have witnesses to any important conversation like this.  And if he doesn’t listen to the small group, Jesus recommends that we bring the issue to the Church, the Body of Christ.

I truly believe that most people don’t intend to hurt us.  I don’t believe that many people wake up in the morning intending to hurt me.  One of the keys is to assume the best in people.  I know I have hurt people without intending to do so.  If they come directly to me then we can clarify the matter and I can ask for forgiveness.  But if that person were to go to others first and start gossip, I have no chance to share my point of view.

So let us take the Lord’s words to heart today.  Let us assume the best intentions of other people.  And when we do get hurt or someone offends us, let us go directly to that person to seek clarification.  Only if the person does not listen should we include others in the conversation.  And our intention should always be to seek peace and reconciliation, not the assassination of someone’s reputation.

God bless

Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Here is the Spanish translation:

Evangelio según San Mateo 18,15-20.
Si tu hermano peca, ve y corrígelo en privado. Si te escucha, habrás ganado a tu hermano.
Si no te escucha, busca una o dos personas más, para que el asunto se decida por la declaración de dos o tres testigos.
Si se niega a hacerles caso, dilo a la comunidad. Y si tampoco quiere escuchar a la comunidad, considéralo como pagano o publicano.
Les aseguro que todo lo que ustedes aten en la tierra, quedará atado en el cielo, y lo que desaten en la tierra, quedará desatado en el cielo.
También les aseguro que si dos de ustedes se unen en la tierra para pedir algo, mi Padre que está en el cielo se lo concederá.
Porque donde hay dos o tres reunidos en mi Nombre, yo estoy presente en medio de ellos”.

____________________________________________________________

Hoy, este es un consejo tan práctico de Jesús. Cuando alguien peca contra nosotros, Jesús recomienda que vayamos directamente a esa persona. ¿Con que frecuencia vamos a los demás y nos quejamos o difundimos chismes o rumores? ¿O lastimamos la reputación de esa persona públicamente?

¡Si te escucha, eso es genial! Sin embargo, si no te escucha, trae uno o dos testigos contigo para hablar con la persona. Siempre es bueno tener testigos para cualquier conversación importante como esta. Y si no escucha al pequeño grupo, Jesús nos recomienda llevar el asunto a la Iglesia, el Cuerpo de Cristo.

Sinceramente, creo que la mayoría de las personas no tienen la intención de lastimarnos. No creo que muchas personas se despierten por la mañana con la intención de lastimarme. Una de las claves es asumir lo mejor de las personas. Yo sé que he lastimado a personas sin tener la intención de hacerlo. Si vienen directamente a mí, entonces podemos aclarar el asunto y puedo pedir perdón. Pero si esa persona va a otros primero y empieza chismes, no tengo la oportunidad de compartir mi punto de vista.

Así que tomemos las palabras del Señor al corazón hoy. Supongamos las mejores intenciones de otras personas. Y cuando seamos lastimados o alguien nos ofenda, vayamos directamente a esa persona para buscar aclaraciones. Sólo si la persona no escucha deberíamos incluir a otros enla conversación. Y nuestra intención siempre debe ser de buscar la paz y la reconciliación, no el asesinato de la reputación de alguien.

Dios te bendiga,

  1. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Posted by: frburke23 | August 11, 2014

Thought for Tuesday, 19th Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

The disciples approached Jesus and said,
“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
“Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Whoever becomes humble like this child
is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,
for I say to you that their angels in heaven
always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.
What is your opinion?
If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray,
will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills
and go in search of the stray?
And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.”

_________________________________________________________

This world teaches us that in order to be great we have to be powerful, demanding, driven, and upwardly mobile.  However, Jesus surprised them when the disciples asked Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”  He brought a child into their midst and told them that they must be humble like this child just to enter the Kingdom of heaven.

Heaven and God’s reign are not about power, wealth, honor and pleasure.  Heaven is for the humble, lowly, poor, meek, single-hearted, innocent, pure and holy.  Heaven is for those who become like little children.  These are challenging words for each one of us today.

Then Jesus shares with the disciples the story of a shepherd willing to leave the 99 sheep to seek the one that was lost.  He is giving us a glimpse into the mind and heart of God.  God seeks out the marginalized, those who society has cast aside.  And we should do the same.  Who are these people today?  They would be the children, the elderly, the immigrants, the physically and mentally challenged, the poor, the minorities, etc.

Pope Francis is showing us the mind and heart of God by the way that he treats the people in the list above.  He kisses and embraces those that cause us to turn the other way.  He eats with the poor on the streets, letting them know that they are loved by God.

Am I becoming like a little child?

How do I treat those that are marginalized by our society?

Have a great day!
Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Here is the Spanish translation:

Mateo 18:1-5, 10, 12-14

Los discípulos se acercaron a Jesús y le dijeron,
“¿Quién es el mayor en el Reino de los cielos?”
Él llamó a un niño, lo puso en medio de ellos, y dijo,
“En verdad les digo, si no cambian y se hacen como los niños,
no entraran en el Reino de los cielos.
El que se humille como este niño
es el mayor en el Reino de los cielos.
Y el que reciba a un niño como éste en mi nombre, a mí me recibe.
“Miren que no menosprecien a uno de estos pequeños;
porque yo les digo que sus ángeles en los cielos
siempre miran el rostro de mi Padre celestial.
¿Cuál es su opinión?
Si un hombre tiene cien ovejas y una de ellas se descarría,
¿no dejara las noventa y nueve en las colinas
y va en busca de la descarriada?
Y si llega a encontrarla, en verdad les digo que se regocija más por ella
que por las noventa y nueve que no se descarriaron.
De la misma manera, no es voluntad de su Padre celestial
que uno de estos pequeños se pierda”.

____________________________________________________________

Este mundo nos enseña que para ser grandes tenemos que ser poderosos, exigentes, impulsados, y en ascenso. Sin embargo, Jesús los sorprendió cuando los discípulos le preguntaron a Jesús, “¿Quién es el mayor en el Reino de los cielos?” Él trajo a un niño en medio de ellos y les dijo que tenían que ser humildes como este niño, sólo para entrar en el Reino de los cielos.

El cielo y el reino de Dios no son sobre el poder, riqueza, honor y placer. El cielo es para los humildes, pobres, dóciles, sinceros, inocentes, puros y santos. El cielo es para los que se hacen como niños pequeños. Estas son palabras desafiantes para cada uno de nosotros hoy en día.

Luego Jesús comparte con los discípulos la historia de un pastor dispuesto a dejar a las 99 ovejas para buscar la que se había perdido. Él nos está dando una visión de la mente y corazón de Dios. Dios busca a los marginados, a los que la sociedad ha dejado de lado. Y nosotros debemos hacer lo mismo. ¿Quiénes son estas personas hoy en día? Ellos serían los niños, los ancianos, los inmigrantes, los discapacitados físicamente y mentalmente, los pobres, las minorías, etc.

El Papa Francisco nos está mostrando la mente y el corazón de Dios por la forma en que trata a las personas en la lista anterior. El besa y abraza a aquellos que nos hacen voltear a otro lado. Él come con los pobres en las calles, haciéndoles saber que son amados por Dios.

¿Me estoy volviendo como un niño pequeño?
¿Cómo trato a aquellos que son marginados por nuestra sociedad?

¡Tengan un gran día!

  1. F Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

Posted by: frburke23 | August 11, 2014

Thought for Monday, August 11 (St. Clare of Assisi)

Matthew 17:22-27

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee,
Jesus said to them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men,
and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.”
And they were overwhelmed with grief.

When they came to Capernaum,
the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said,
“Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?”
“Yes,” he said.
When he came into the house, before he had time to speak,
Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon?
From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax?
From their subjects or from foreigners?”
When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him,
“Then the subjects are exempt.
But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook,
and take the first fish that comes up.
Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax.
Give that to them for me and for you.”

=================================================

Today the Church remembers St. Clare of Assisi (1194-1253).  She was born into a wealthy family and her father wanted her to marry a wealthy man.  However, at the age of 18, she heard the preaching of St. Francis and decided that the Lord was calling her to be a religious sister.  Her father unsuccessfully tried to abduct her from the convent, but Clare truly felt called to live a simple and austere life like St. Francis.

Two of Clair’s biological sisters, Agnes and Beatrix, joined her in the convent.  And eventually their mother would join them as well.  Many other women joined her as well as they felt called to be poor for Christ.  They wore no shoes, ate no meat, lived in a poor house and kept silent most of the time.  They were first known as the “Poor Ladies” because of their radical lifestyle.  This was something very new to the world.  Today they are known as the Poor Clares as they live a life of poverty, prayer and hard work.

One powerful story about St. Clare tells of a group of soldiers who were attacking Assisi.  Their attack was going to begin at Clare’s convent.   She was very sick, but the sisters helped her raise the Blessed Sacrament up to the window and she began to pray for their protection.  The attackers quickly turned around and fled.

In the Gospel for today, the disciples were overwhelmed with grief when Jesus told them He was going to be killed and raised on the third day.  They didn’t place their complete faith in Jesus.  We also struggle with our faith at times.  St. Clare is a great example of someone who placed her faith in Jesus.  She trusted Him for everything.  Do I trust Jesus to provide for my every need?

Clare, pray for us.

Have a blessed day,

Fr. Burke

Posted by: frburke23 | August 8, 2014

Thought for Friday, 18th Week in Ordinary Time

Matthew 16:24-28

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay each according to his conduct.
Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here
who will not taste death
until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”

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Today people who study marketing would say that Jesus was not a good marketer, right?  Just imagine the pep talk…  “Ok, men, if you want to follow me you must deny yourself and take up your cross.  You are going to have to lose your life in order to save it.”  To our world today these words sound crazy.  Why would someone willingly deny himself and take up the cross?  It sounds like suicide.  Poor marketing…

Yet, when it is done out of love, every sacrifice is worth it.  Why would you sacrifice for Christ?  I would venture to say that you are willing to give up certain things in this life for the eternal rewards of heaven, right?  I know that if I didn’t believe in heaven, I sure would not be a priest today.  If there was nothing after this life, I would be out there trying to experience ever possible pleasure and good time there was.

However, I do believe in Jesus’ promise of heaven.  And Jesus asks the question, “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” 

What is your ideal?  What are you chasing after in this life?  Where do you spend your time?  Your money?  Your free time?  Your thoughts?  This is what is most important to you.

And if your ideal is not Jesus and a life focused on getting to heaven, Jesus invites us to make a change today.  We have this life for a relatively short time, but what we do here determines how we will spend the rest of eternity.  And the irony is following Jesus in this life and carrying a cross does not preclude a life of joy.  I know many people who are carrying a very heavy cross, but they do it with grace and joy.  Jesus walks this journey with us.

For what are you searching?

Have a blessed day!
Fr. Burke

http://frburke23.wordpress.com

 

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